Today, CA announced that they have agreed to acquire Nimsoft for $350 USM (an all cash deal). Given their recent acquisition of 3Tera, it doesn't take a brain surgeon to see that Nimsoft is another piece to their cloud playbook. It appears that CA is positioning itself to be a big player in cloud management. Nimsoft -- for those who don't know -- has software that monitors service providers.
Why would you want to monitor service providers? After all, doesn't the cloud obfuscate the service details and thus doesn't need monitoring tools?
Although cloud allows IT organizations to externalize applications and workloads, providers still need to be monitored to ensure they are meeting service levels including performance, availability, security, chargeback, etc. Furthermore, the idea of transparency in the cloud is a bit of a myth. Customers really do need to know the vendor's underlying infrastructure so they can make intelligent decisions about whether or not the service provider can meet the application's requirements, avoid data management issues, be available, ensure security, etc.
So these moves (3Tera and Nimsoft) is about CA putting the pieces together to build a comprehensive suite to manage the cloud holistically, i.e. discover, monitor, configure, update, diagnose, provision internal and external cloud resources.
Now, it isn't all unicorns and rainbows. CA has a lot of work to do to integrate these pieces into a product suite (step 1) and convince customers that heterogeneous cloud management is the way to go (step 2) and is still missing a few ingredients (step 3)...because they are absolutely going to experience some competition in the cloud management arena. The virtualization vendors, cloud providers, and cloud brokers will also be moving to manage the cloud. Many of these potential competitors bring a lot to the table including "iTunes" like repositories of pre-configured workloads allowing users to easily spawn new services into the cloud, some have a stranglehold on the virtualization management space, some have large, established user-bases, others have ability to more than management services into the equation.
Should be fun to watch this space because it's a key area in the maturation of cloud computing.
[posted by: Drue Reeves]